1. The Pagoda Dedicated to
    Ōno Dōken Sai Harutane
  2. The Genna Town Planning and Kazama Rokuemon
  1. Significant Dates in the History of Gatsuzōji
  2. Top Page

History and architecture

Foundation.

 Gatsuzōji Temple, which currently spreads over 900 tsubo, was established in 1495, 214 years after the death of Nichiren, as a branch of the Chōmyōji Temple in Kyoto. The original name of the temple was Honkōbō, and it was located in Sakai, Kita no Shō Sakura no Chō Kitayokomachi Aza Tōrō no Tsuji. Some 50 years later, in 1543, it was moved to its actual location and, following the generous donation made by a wealthy oil merchant named Date Jōgon (who was also the father of Busshin' in Nichikō, founder of the Myōkokuji Temple), the main hall and the reception hall were built. The temple was renamed Seiyōzan Gatsuzōji and it became a branch of the main Nichiren temple in the area, Myōkokuji.

  120 years after the foundation of the Gatsuzōji Temple, on April 28, 1615, Sakai, which acted as a supply base for both the army of the Tokugawa Shogunate and the army of the Toyotomi Clan, was burnt to the ground during the Summer Campaign of the Siege of Osaka. The Tokugawa Shogunate, holding the political power after the Winter Campaign of 1614, nominated the Nagasaki town magistrate, Hasegawa Tōkō, to concurrently hold the post of Sakai town magistrate, so after the Summer Campaign Hasegawa set about restoring the devastated townscape. One of Hasegawa's vassals, Kazama Rokuemon no Jō Michinobu, conducted what is now called "The Genna (1615-1624) Town Planning", allotting Gatsuzōji the land it still holds. In the years that followed, until mid 18th century, the main hall, the Myōkendo Hall and the living quarters were build in rapid succession, while the temple was appropriately fitted with the necessary sacred objects. The temple was later restored repeatedly and now, in 2011, it boasts a 517-year documented history.  The name of the temple, Seiyō, has its origins in the Chinese Doctrine of the Five Elements, where the word was used to designate spring, especially early spring, characterized by an abundance of green. Inside the temple grounds, as soon as the plums and camellias have passed their blooming splendor, the trees get ready to welcome the new buds, and when the time comes for the camphor tree and the other evergreens to shed their old leaves, in the twinkling of an eye the new spring green envelops the world and a cool shade worthy of the name "Seiyōzan" (Spring Mountain) receives the visitors to the temple.